Statistics* claim half of us are doomed to get cancer. We can do something about it!
As some of you may know, my husband was diagnosed with cancer back in 2016. Of all the things that happened in that horrible week he was diagnosed, there is one thing I will never forget that still upsets me - Andrew was told by a member of his medical team that he couldn’t do anything to help fight cancer, and it was just bad luck he got it.
There are two reasons why this statement makes me angry. Firstly, because it’s not true. There is plenty of evidence that cancer has internal and external causes, which can be found in someone’s diet, lifestyle, environment and emotional life - not only in their genetics - and yet, it is still so common for medical professionals to say that there is no evidence to support a ‘lifestyle medicine’ approach for preventing and reversing cancer.
What is incomprehensible is that we are talking about hundreds of studies over millions (yes millions!) of people, that demonstrate that if you change your diet and your lifestyle, you can avoid and even cure cancer. Even so, these interventions are still disregarded by so many people in the medical world as the evidence to support them is mostly made up of epidemiological and observational data.
Claims that there is no scientific evidence to support lifestyle medicine are inaccurate and only serve to perpetuate ignorance on the topic.
Random Controlled Trials (RTCs) are considered in the medical world to be gold-standard in medical research; however, RCTs in the area of lifestyle interventions for cancer are difficult to do because humans cannot be confined and controlled easily like rats or mice.
So far, the only RCT on diet and cancer is the Ornish Study, which showed that a plant-based diet and lifestyle program could reverse the progression of prostate cancer.
If you would like to read more on this topic, I can highly recommend the detailed article by Maia Bedson, published in the Gawler Foundation** magazine in March 2018.
The second reason why I am so dismayed that cancer patients are told there’s nothing they can do to help their chances of recovery and that a cancer diagnosis is just bad luck, is because this is the single most disempowering thing someone can hear when they have just been diagnosed.
When a human being is disempowered, the natural response is to feel depressed. It is a normal and predictable outcome. Human beings need to feel they can have an impact on their lives and their world. It is about contribution, and it is a key ingredient to help achieve feelings of freedom, happiness and wellbeing.
We do not have to fatalistically accept that half of us will get cancer and there is nothing we can do about it. There is plenty we can do to help ourselves both prevent cancer and also improve our chances of recovery.
Here are some of the practical things we can do:
1. Adopt a healthier diet with plenty of vegetables and less sugar. A good reference on this subject is the book Anticancer, by Dr David Servan-Schreiber.
2. Exercise regularly
3. Reduce stress and limit intake of toxins and exposure to polluted environments
4. Improve emotional wellbeing by dealing with past hurts and traumas and consciously taking on a healthier, positive mental state Although often overlooked, this fourth point is, to me, incredibly important. From my own personal experience and also in my work as a holistic counsellor, I know that people who have experienced hurt and traumas as a child, tend to harbor unresolved emotional pain. As an adult, we may feel that we’ve moved on or have gained clarity about the situation on a logical level, but without taking the time to revisit, understand and heal that original emotional pain, we continue to carry it around in our adult years. If you have experienced traumas, either in childhood or even later in life, it is important to gain support with the emotional healing process, so you can release the past, and regain your sense of inner peace.
Another important element of improving emotional wellbeing is switching from an inner dialogue of negativity to one of trust and love. To be constantly worrying about undesirable outcomes, be it with the world, your job, your relationships, and your life in general, is not good for you in the long run. It creates ongoing stress in your life and has negative implications on your health and wellbeing. On the flip side, to trust in the unfolding of your life, to focus on the wonderful things happening in the world, to act in line with your values, and to have a healthy level of self esteem and trust in others, leads to happier life experiences and a greater sense of wellbeing.
If you find it a struggle to make this shift, you may have some unresolved emotions that are holding you back and may need professional help… and if you do, that’s absolutely okay.
Remember - we don’t have to accept the doom and gloom of statistics, saying that half of us will be diagnosed with cancer.* We can do something about it! Alongside improved health outcomes, taking a proactive approach to our own health and wellbeing will also empower us and make us feel happy!
If this article interested you and you have questions or would like to share your own experience, you can book a free 20 minutes chat with me on https://www.maudbr.com/free-consult
I have a deep passion for assisting people to create inner stability so they can make a stand for themselves and let go of what is not supporting them anymore. I would welcome the opportunity to help do this for you.
*born after 1960. See reference: Cancer in Australia Facts and Figures https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/facts-and-figures.html
**If you have cancer or know someone who does, have a look at the excellent and life-changing work the Gawler Cancer Foundation does on https://gawler.org/